UNHRC Side Event: Safety of Journalists

Safety of Journalists: Enhancing implementation, advancing digital security, and  protection of journalists’ sources

Thursday 16th June 2016, 16:00 – 17:30, Room XXIII

ARTICLE 19, together with the Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations in Geneva, invites you to a panel discussion on the sides of the 32nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on the safety of journalists.

In every region of the world, journalists continue to be murdered for their work, with UNESCO recording 114 assassinations in 2015 alone. Behind each statistic is an individual with a name and story, and each murder brings with it a loss to the public, deprived of the crucial stories which that journalist might have produced.

This is just the tip of the iceberg: countless other journalists have faced violent attacks and threats, but impunity for murders and other forms of attack against journalists remains an endemic problem. Increasingly journalists also face challenges in ensuring their digital security, and in guaranteeing security for their sources, with profound implications for safety of all those involved in journalism.

This is a stark reminder that measures to prevent and protect against such attacks are insufficient: more must be done. Failures in the process of investigation and prosecution only encourage further violence. This impunity is itself an assault on freedom of expression and democracy, which drives and perpetuates the closing of space for independent journalism and freedom of expression.

The HRC has provided a practical blueprint for States to end impunity for murders and attacks against journalists, most recently in HRC res 27/5, supplemented by parallel resolutions at the Security Council (res 2222) and the General Assembly (res 70/162). These build upon reports by HRC special procedures, the OHCHR and the UN Secretary General. UNESCO is spearheading implementation efforts through their Plan of Action on the safety of journalists.

Join us to discuss:

  • What efforts are taking place at the international, regional and national levels to address the problem of impunity for murders and attacks against journalists, and how can these be improved?

  • Is more required to provide comprehensive international standards for ensuring the safety of journalists?

  • What can the HRC do to advance the digital security of journalists, as well as protect their sources?


  • David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

  • Frank La Rue, Assistant Director-General, Communication and Information, UNESCO.

  • Malgozata Pek, Committee of Experts on protection of journalists, Council of Europe

  • Gayathry Venkiteswaran, Indepedent Expert and Former Executive Director of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance

  • Julie Posetti, Journalist (Fairfax Media), Research Fellow (University of Wollongong).

  • Moderated  by Thomas Hughes, ARTICLE 19’s Executive Director

If you do not have UN accreditation to access the Palais des Nations, please email [email protected] at least 72 hours in advance of the events to be added to the guest list.